Bill Tole was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA., Bill Tole comes from a musical family. His father was a high school band director for many years, a sales representative for Selmer and King musical corporations, and is currently active as a professional trombonist and pianist. His mother also plays the piano and for many years performed as a vocalist and accompanist for master chorales in Western Pennsylvania. Until retirement, she was a music teacher for children with special needs. His parents both have been a tremendous influence on Bill developing an appreciation and love for the art.
Bill is the oldest of four children. His sister, Nancy Knorr, is the featured vocalist with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, and is the lead singer and the owner of the famous "Pied Pipers." His brother, Gary, is a busy studio musician and leader of his own band in the Los Angeles area. And the youngest of the four children, Amy, has not chosen a career in music as a performer, but enjoys listening to all music and is one of the biggest fans of the performing Toles.
Bill attended Duquesne University School of Music with the intent of pursuing music as a career. After four years of college he auditioned for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and went on tour with that band. He later joined the Air Force dance band, "The Airmen of Note," a continuation of the Army Air Force "Glenn Miller Orchestra," where he was solo trombonist and assistant leader for four years.
Tole moved to New York City in the '60s and played for many of the top Broadway shows, headliner artists, club dates, and also was busy doing recordings during the prime of New York City studio days. However, a change in the studio scene relocated Bill to Los Angeles in 1967 where he continued recording on albums , commercials, television, and movies.
Bills career took a slightly different turn when a producer put out a casting call for a trombonist to portray Tommy Dorsey in a film starring Liza Minelli and Robert DeNiro. In Bill Tole they not only found a professional trombone player, who understood the musical era, who had a big band of his own for the movie, but that he also could play as sweet as Dorsey. Tole had the musical credentials to land the part, and looked just like that "Sentimental Gentleman" in the 1977 release New York, New York.
As Tommy Dorsey
in "New York, New York"
Upon completion of the film, the Bill Tole Orchestra had the great fortune of recording their version of the movie sound track, entitled "Music from New York, New York" for Calliope Records. The '90s brought a new recording contract with Courtney Records and two new recordings on compact disc and cassette "Big Band On the Move" and "Big Band Memories." The CDs and cassettes can be ordered direct from Courtney Records, P. O. Box 333, No. Hollywood, CA 91603, and on the Internetat WorldWide-Radio.com.
Bill has performed with many of the great stars in the music business. Some of the big band leaders he has played with include Ray Anthony, Tex Beneke, Louis Bellson, Les Brown, Bob Crosby, Harry James, Quincy Jones, Nelson Riddle. He has recorded hundreds of albums with great singing stars such as Barry Manilow, Tom Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Pearl Bailey, and many recordings and television specials with Frank Sinatra.
Bill appears as soloist, teacher and clinician throughout the United States. He has also performed in Great Britain, has toured Australia and Japan with his own band "The Bill Tole Orchestra," and as a clinician and lecturer as well.
Bill is generous with his time and talent for BonesWest, performing as featured soloist on occasion, encouraging his students to join the choir, and coming to rehearsals himself from time to time to get some "chop time." A true "Special Friend" of BonesWest.